Texas Tech basketball longest NCAA Tournament streaks

Today we take a look at the longest streaks of reaching the NCAA Tournament by the Texas Tech basketball program.

Eastern Illinois v Texas Tech
Eastern Illinois v Texas Tech / John E. Moore III/GettyImages
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With the NCAA Tournament right around the corner, Texas Tech basketball fans are gearing up for what will hopefully be another memorable March run. Thankfully, Tech's place in the Big Dance seems secured.

With a record of 21-9 overall and 10-7 in Big 12 play, the Red Raiders are securely in the NCAA Tournament. In virtually every bracket prediction, Tech is included in the field.

The ESPN.com bracketology projection has the Red Raiders as a No. 8 seed as of Friday. Meanwhile, CBS.com's projection lists the Red Raiders as a No. 6 seed.

Of course, a win over Baylor on Saturday and a nice run in the Big 12 Tournament would give the Red Raiders an even better resume and could vault Tech up the seeding line. Regardless of where the Red Raiders wind up being seeded, though, it is just refreshing for Tech to be back in the field of 68 after missing out on the tournament last year.

Last season put an end to a lengthy NCAA Tournament streak for the program. So as we prepare for this year's tournament run, let's look back at the longest tourney streaks that the Texas Tech basketball program has put together.

1961-62

Texas Tech first reached the NCAA Tournament in 1954. Then, in 1956, the program returned. However, it wasn't until 1961-62 that Tech made its first back-to-back tournaments.

In 1961, Tech won the Southwest Conference to represent the league in the Tournament under coach Polk Robinson. That year, Tech would lose its first game of the event 78-55 to Cincinnati.

A year later, under new head coach Gene Gibson, Tech made it back to the NCAA Tournament after again winning the SWC regular season title. That season, the Red Raiders defeated Air Force 68-66 in the Midwest Region quarterfinals before falling to Colorado 67-60.

Gibson would coach Tech for seven more seasons but he would not get the program back to the tournament. In fact, the Red Raiders would not return to the Big Dance until 1973 under Gerald Myers.

1985-86

In 1985, Myers had one of his best teams. Going 23-8 overall and 12-4 in SWC play, the Red Raiders won the SWC regular season and tournament titles. Unfortunately, the team would drop a 55-53 decision to Boston College in the first round of that year's NCAA Tournament. Still, Tech finished as high as No. 16 in the national polls.

1986 was a different story, though, Tech would manage just a 17-14 overall record and go just 9-7 in SWC play. However, the Red Raiders would put it all together to win the SWC Tournament and get into the NCAA Tournament. They would lose in the first round to Georgetown, 70-64, though.

2004-05

Texas Tech wouldn't reach consecutive tournaments again until 2004-05. That was when Bob Knight took the program to the Big Dance for the second and third times of his Red Raider career.

After a third-place N.I.T. finish the year prior, 2004 saw Tech go 23-11 overall and 9-7 in Big 12 play. That earned a No. 8 seed in the NCAA Tournament. In the first round, Tech beat Charlotte 76-73 before falling to No. 1 seed St. Joseph's 70-65 in the second round.

A year later, Knight had his best team at Tech. Going 22-11 overall and 10-6 in Big 12 play, Tech was a No. 6 seed. They opened with a win over UCLA, 78-66 then they stunned No. 3 seed Gonzaga 71-69 to reach the Sweet Sixteen. The run would come to an end against No. 7 seed West Virginia with a 65-60 loss. It would be the final time in Knight's illustrious career that he would reach the Sweet Sixteen.

2018-22

The longest streak of tournament appearances by Texas Tech is the one that ended just last year. From 2018-22, Tech was able to get into the Tournament and win at least one game each time.

In 2018, Tech reached the Elite Eight for the first time in program history. That run included wins over Stephen F. Austin, Florida, and Purdue before a 71-59 loss to eventual national champion Villanova.

Of course, in 2019 the Red Raiders would reach the National Title game with wins over Northern Kentucky, Buffalo, Michigan, Gonzaga, and Michigan State. However, a crushing OT loss to Virginia would end Tech's run just short of winning it all.

2020 saw the NCAA Tournament cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Tech would return to the dance in 2021 reaching the second round after beating No. 11 seed Utah State in the first round. In the second round, though, Tech couldn't hit some critical and make-able shots in the final minute of a 68-66 loss to No. 3 seed Arkansas.

The next year, Tech got back to the second weekend of the tournament under first-year head coach Mark Adams. After a 97-62 win over No. 14 seed Montana State, Tech would survive a 59-53 scare from No. 11 seed Notre Dame. That run would come to an end in the Sweet Sixteen via a 78-73 loss to No. 2 seed Duke.

This year, Grant McCasland has put Tech back into the tournament and hopefully it will be not only a long run this March but also the start of a long streak of NCAA Tournament appearances for a program that has ever had only one streak of over two years in a row.

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